Iran’s Hardliners Fall Into Line Backing Zarif in Nuclear Talks

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif got the backing of one of the biggest critics of his government’s stance in nuclear talks, as the country’s hardliners fall into line with the search for detente.

“All must support the negotiating team to reach our aim” of securing Iran’s nuclear rights, said Saeed Jalili, former presidential candidate and nuclear negotiator. “The nuclear discussions are above and beyond narrow political and factional debates.”

Jalili’s comment comes two days after the chief of Iran’s armed forces warned conservative media organizations, some with links to the Revolutionary Guards, to stop inciting the public against the nuclear talks and to back President Hassan Rouhani instead. Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, who reports directly to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said media outlets should put aside factionalism and help “build the country and assist the administration.”

The next day, Rouhani adviser Hesamodin Ashna wrote on his Facebook page: “What if Firouzabadi comments were not a hint but an order?”

Diplomats from Iran and world powers are due to reassemble next month after their last round of talks ended in Vienna last week without significant progress.

The stumble was welcomed by hardline factions in Iran. Kayhan newspaper said the talks “fortunately ended fruitless.” An editorial said the West had deceived Rouhani into accepting “too many concessions for too little gain.”

Rouhani told reporters in Shanghai yesterday that he still expected a successful outcome by July 20, the deadline diplomats have set.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said this week that Iran has undertaken to implement measures to address allegations it conducted research into making nuclear weapons.

Jalili, who argued for resistance against the U.S. and its allies, came third in last year’s presidential election. At the time he was seen as the candidate closest to Khamenei.

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